13 Local Nurses Who Deserve Some Serious Love on National Nurses Day

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Now more than ever, those working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic deserve some appreciation — essential workers, healthcare heroes, and the like. A specific group of individuals, however, is getting a special shout out today — nurses. Every year, May 6th is deemed National Nurses Day and is dedicated to, well, showing all the nurses out there who are with us from the very beginning to the very end some love and appreciation. This year, we’re celebrating a few local Hoboken + Jersey City nurses to deserve an extra special shout out this year. Here they are: 

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Angela Bender, Nurse at Hackensack Hospital

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“Angela has worked tirelessly with COVID-10 patients over the past few months. Her courage, dedication, and positive attitude goes unmatched — we are all so lucky to have her,” Angela’s friend Mariss shares.

Leah Keller, Nurse Practitioner at Memorial Sloan Kettering

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“Leah has been a nurse since graduating from Boston College. For over 11 years at Hackensack Hospital and currently at Memorial Sloan she has pursued the career that all those who know her, knew she was meant to do. For over 20 years of friendship, she has shown me her sympathetic, thoughtful, and amazingly strong demeanor. It’s those qualities along with her brilliance that, in my opinion, make her a phenomenal nurse.

Even though primarily she works with patients battling Cancer, she was temporarily floated to a COVID floor. She handled that like everything else in her life, with a good outlook and an inability to be slowed down,” Leah’s friend Christina shares.

Colleen Conner, a Nurse at Morristown Medical Center

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“Colleen grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ, and has worked at Morristown Medical Center since 2012, while pursuing her nursing degree from Villanova. She joined full time after graduating in 2014. She was recently promoted to clinical care coordinator in the Thoracic Surgical unit and is also pursuing her master’s degree. She has lived in Hoboken since 2014 and loves walking along the waterfront and meeting with friends, particularly at Onieal’s.  When asked to respond to managing COVID-19 pandemic crisis, Colleen volunteered to move to the front line, the Hospital’s Emergency Triage Tent, while continuing to manage multiple Critical Care units. She has been a leader for her staff, maintaining a sense of calm while the crisis overwhelmed the hospital’s resources,” Colleen’s friend Andrea shared.

Stephanie Incardona, a Nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering

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“She is 26 years old working as a nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering in the city.  he will probably be listening to the J Train podcast or Kygo while walking home from work. When she isn’t working, she enjoys walking around the city and taking yoga classes. Stephanie is so deserving of this nomination because she has worked tirelessly to be the best nurse she can be. From working the night shift to taking master’s classes, I really am in awe of everything she can do.  She has worked tirelessly to be the best nurse she can be. I know her patients are so lucky to have her. Steph, stay strong. We look up to you and are so proud of everything you’re doing. Not all superheroes wear capes, some wear scrubs,” Stephanie’s friend Jill shared.

Meghan Ward, a Nurse Practitioner at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

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“Meghan is a long-time resident of Hoboken, currently living with her fiancé in Jersey City they are getting married in August! She is a part of an Advanced Heart Failure Unit Team which is a part of a doctor’s office that treat patients with heart conditions, spending half of her time in the office seeing patients after they are discharged and half the time in the hospital caring for patients who just underwent surgery. This unit that Meghan is a part of is at the same hospital where we started her career back in 2006.

Meghan is deserving of this nomination and recognition because she has stepped up beyond her normal job! During this pandemic, Meghan was seeing her former team and colleagues struggling with all the hours and work helping save people’s lives from COVID-19, Meghan decided in addition to her regular day job working at the hospital, she would now volunteer an additional three days a week in the ER to help fight the fight and be on the front line,” Meghan’s friend Jamie shared.

Kate Melega, a Nurseat Overlook Hospital

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“There is nobody more deserving of this than Katie — not only is she a nurse but is a super proud Hoboken girl. When not being a nurse Katie has her own wood signage company, but since COVID-19, she has made signs for Hoboken Strong and other uplifting messages and placed them around town to bring smiles and happiness to others. She also spends her spare time baking and making sandwiches for those less fortunate in the area. She supports her fellow nurses, always has a positive attitude, and tries her best to lift everybody’s spirits even during hard times. We need more people like this during times like these,” Kate’s friend Stefanie shared.

Janine Ianuzzi, a Nurse Children’s Specialized Hospital

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“Janine is someone who goes above and beyond not only for her patients but for her friends too. My nickname for her is actually Doula because she basically was just that when I was pregnant and gave birth.  When my newborn was having issues feeding, Janine came over at 11:00PM and helped.  This is just the kind of friend she is.  The kind of friend who will just drop everything to make sure you’re okay,” Janine’s friend Cathy said.

Jackie Roman, an ER Nurse at Hackensack Medical Center

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“Jackie is my sister and she is an ER nurse at Hackensack Medical Center.  Jackie just finished her master’s degree in Family Nurse Practitioner at Monmouth University and unfortunately won’t be able to walk until September. While working hard to finish her masters, attend class and clinicals, Jackie has gone to every shift at the ER with a smile on her face.  Jackie puts her all into helping others each and every day, because of her and all nurses we all get to live in a happier, healthier world,” Jackie’s sister Katelyn said.

Amanda Lavarco, a Nurse at Memorial  Sloan Kettering

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^ Amanda pictured second from the left!

“Amanda has been a Nurse for the past five years all throughout NJ and NY. Amanda works in the outpatient department at Sloan Kettering, but when the hospital began to overflow with patients, Amanda put her current position on hold and moved to a night shift on a COVID infected floor in order to help flatten the curve. Luckily, the patients at Sloan have begun to slow down, so she should be able to move her to the original position shortly. I would like to give her a shout out because even though this was not her responsibility at the hospital, she went out, no questions asked to help on the front line,” Amanda’s friend Deidre shared.

Shanah Strumeier, a Nurse Practitioner at NYU Langone

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“Shanah works as a Nurse Practitioner at NYU. She’s a wife and mom to a four-year-old daughter and six-month-old son and has lived in Hoboken for the last eight years. Since Shanah became a nurse, she’s dedicated herself to the wellbeing of her patients both during work and outside. Shanah has been a nurse in so many different settings and has always adapted to any situation with grace. She worked night shifts as a Nurse at NYU even while nine months pregnant!

She serves on the front lines year-round, and since COVID, has continued to commute into Manhattan every day to ensure the safety and well-being of her patients. Shanah has two kids at home, and finished maternity leave as COVID-19 attacked NYC. Her bravery to leave home every morning to commute into the unknown is what makes her a hero. She leaves her family each day to continue to ensure that other families are safe and she does so because it’s who she is and what she’s meant to be doing. Shanah is special. She’s dedicated to her patients and her hospital, and everything she does is without complaint or need for recognition which is why she deserves this recognition,” Shanah’s friend Dani shared.

Tanner Dixon, a Nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering

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“Tanner has always needed to know what he is going to do long before he does it. So it was no surprise that he wanted to choose a major before even beginning college! I remember him announcing that he wanted to become a nurse and would pursue that along with a Division 1 lacrosse career. My reaction was to let him know what a perfect fit that would be for his personality! As his mom, I immediately knew that his bedside manner would be his greatest strength. His ability to light up a room, to make lemonade out of lemons, and to just plain put the focus on someone else’s needs are all traits that have and will continue to make a positive impact in his patients and co-workers lives,” Tanner’s mom shared.

See More: All the Ways to Help Hospitals in Need of Resources in Hoboken, Jersey City, + Beyond

Shannon Kelly, a Nurse at University Medical Center

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“While many nurses are pulling long hours at the hospital, I have been extremely impressed with the attitude and dedication toward the boy’s track team that Shannon has.  In an age of distance learning (and competition) it has been difficult to motivate some of the boys to continue running on their own.  Shannon is constantly posting fun videos, commenting on their work, arranging meets, and celebrating their successes while also dealing with her own stress and anxiety about the virus.  She has created easy to follow guidelines for the virus that have been pushed out to all the athletes at our school and has continually been a source of positivity for teenagers who are struggling with losing out on their senior season,” Shannon’s friend Kira shares.

Kate Worthington, a Nurse Practitioner at Morristown Medical Center

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“When the coronavirus hit, Katie went straight to the frontline working on the COVID-positive unit at Morristown Medical Center. She’s been taking care of 30+ patients each shift and researching every new scientific journal as they get published. As a teacher for Pace University’s nursing masters program, she also helped make it a seamless transition to remote only learning. Mix the professional obligations with daycare being canceled for our three kids under three and you’ve got your superhero. Katie hasn’t missed a beat with work as well as continuing the education and learning activities of our children. Even though times are tough right now, Katie continues to be the one that helps our kids hit new milestones, answers all the virus-related questions of our family and friends, and push us to be optimistic about good times ahead,” Katie’s husband Michael shared.

Thank you to all of the nurses out there who are helping us each and every day! And thank you to everyone who nominated someone, too!


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Arielle is a born-and-bred Jersey girl and like a true NJ native, half her diet consists of bagels and the other half pizza. As a graduate of both American University and City, University of London, she’s been a passionate writer ever since she wrote her first “book” in the first grade. When she’s not furiously typing away at her keyboard, she spends her time ticking places off of her “to travel to” list, trying any and all new foods, and trying to stop herself from spending too much money at Zara.